October 31, 2007

Introducing the New Ask Maps UK

Our goal: to get more people to use Ask UK's Maps service. Our solution: introduce a new version, with new features. Now, thanks to a joint effort across several Ask.com offices, we've succeeded in delivering an Ask Maps service well worth talking about, with features that we think will have you coming back for more.

Bringing the US Along for the Ride

When you work with teams that cross boundaries, it’s often little details that take the longest to get right. In the UK, when you come off a motorway, you call it a "junction;" in the US you call it an "exit." And when it comes to prioritizing landmarks like museums and other points of interest in our search results, we worked closely with our US development team to advise them as to the more popular UK sites.

In addition to the new features, we've extended Ask Maps to cover the UK and Ireland. So if you're planning an Autumn trip around the British Isles, make sure you give it a go.

Driving You Sane

You can give our new driving directions up to ten different destinations and it will plot a route between them.

Getting There On Foot

If you are more of the urban walking persuasion, try the walking directions. Just tell it where you want to go and it'll show you how to get from A to B.

(BTW, Google/Yahoo!/MSN Live Maps do not provide walking directions. Nice!)

Landmark Assistance

Our UK map plots not only streets, but several thousand points of interest. Ask UK Maps cover museums (try the National Gallery), historic buildings (go for the Tower of London), parks (a stroll in Regent's Park, perhaps?) and many others.

Tube Vision

If walking through London is wearing you out, take the underground! The tube stations are marked on our maps (they are the little red circles with a blue line across them).

Get a Birds-Eye Perspective With Aerial View

If you want to know what things look like before you even get there, use the satellite imagery. Just click on the "Aerial" link and zoom right in. If you like the picture a lot, you can even buy it! Just click on the "BuyPoster" link.

And remember, you can also bookmark a map view that you like, email it to a friend or print the driving directions. Click on the options on the top right-hand side of the map.

UK Maps, Smarter Than Ever

Now you can start your city searches right from the Ask UK home page. Type in the name of any major UK city on our web search, and you will get a Smart Answer with not only a link to the map, but a whole lot of other information, like links to local travel traffic information, tourist advice and virtual tour.

When you have a project team spread over four or five different geographical locations and several time zones--on a product with very specific local quirks--it's quite a challenge. But the team worked hard to make it happen, and on time too!

--Koji Kawano and Daniel Mermelstein
International Product Management
Ask UK

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May 31, 2006

Ask.com Maps: Aerial Europe

The first thing people usually try to do with our mapping product is look for an aerial shot of their house or where they grew up. Call it "vanity searching" for maps.  Being from the Netherlands, that was a difficult proposition with all of the existing products out there. But with the launch of our Maps that is no longer the case. 

Here is a shot of the town I grew up in.

Universiteit Tu Eindhoven
Here is the university I went to in Eindhoven.

Working on our aerial maps makes it hard to get homesick. :)

Some quick facts about Eindhoven: It is the city where electronics giant Philips was founded in 1891, Jan de Bont was born there, and it is home of the soccer team PSV Eindhoven.

Not only do we have great maps coverage for the Netherlands, but also for a lot of Western Europe and even parts of Northern and Eastern Europe. We hope to cover the entire world at some point, but this is a great start for our users in Europe. 

Here are some other interesting shots:

The Louvre

Houses of Parliament

Canals of Amsterdam

Buckingham Palace

Eiffel Tower

Charles De Gaulle Airport

Take a look around and let us know if you spot anything interesting.

Michiel Frishert
Ask.com Site Research and Development

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